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Blood testing could benefit organ transplant patients

Category: Blood and Blood Diseases

A simple blood test could be all it takes for doctors to determine how the bodies of patients who receive heart transplants are accepting the new organ, allowing patients to forego more invasive procedures, a new study found.

Currently, doctors must perform invasive biopsies of the area around transplants, but the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that patients who were given the blood test had just as good outcomes as those who went through the traditional procedures.

The test looks at certain genes in the patient's blood, and uses those results to determine whether or not the heart is being rejected.

Researcher Dr Michael Pham told the New York times that the simple blood test would not only be much less expensive, it would also be much more comfortable for patients.

He told the news source that the test, combined with advances in medical imaging, would be a major step forward for organ transplants. “I think it will cause a paradigm shift in the way we look at monitoring for rejection,” he said.

The Mayo Clinic, one of the largest organ transplant centers in the country, estimates that 77 people receive a transplanted organ each day.
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